To protect a white violin, viola or cello from being exposed to the elements, sweaty hands or the penetration of varnish into the structure of the wood, violin builders use a primer coat before varnishing. This separates the rough, unhandled wood from the varnish. Some traditionalists (in Mittenwald, for instance) use thinned hot glue for this. This can result to the dissolving of the primer and the upper varnish layer when cleaning or doing repair work with water. A good primer should have the following qualities:
  • Transparent
  • No attenuation-causing properties
  • Non-dissolvable with water
  • Resistant to hand perspiration
  • Good adhesion properties to both wood and varnish